“BUZZ: Newspaper Article”
Sep- Oct 2011 (#7-G)
Ok fans, let us see if you have been paying attention…I mentioned this months Band installment in last months article. I was talking about one of my former bands “Palace Guard” and my former band mate Eric DeWolf, we were discussing a new direction to move towards, and Eric informed me that already exists in the Finnish Band “Hanoi Rocks” which I do not understand why they are not more popular than they are in this area as Minnesota has the 2nd & Wisconsin has the 3rd highest populations of Finns in the USA….?
* Saigon Shakes…1980- 81
Hanoi Rocks was born out of 2 punk bands from Helsinki, Finland (Finland being most famous for their cell phone production due to their anti-social behavior) “Pelle Miljoona Oy” and “Briard” sometime in 1980 by 5 local boys: Lead Singer & Sax Player Michael Monroe ( Matti Fagerholm 17jun1960) with Andy McCoy (Antti Hulkko 11oct1962) Lead Guitar & Song Writer and Sam Yaffa (Saki Takamaki) on Bass along with Nasty Suicide (Jan Stenfors) on Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals and their 1st Drummer Gyp Casino (Jesper Sporre). Hanoi Rocks released their 1st album “Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes Hanoi Rocks” in 1981 a Scandinavian only release at first. Stand out tracks to me are; “First Timer” “Lost In The City” & “Don’t Never Leave Me” (later re-recorded in 1984)
* Beating in the Orient…1982
Hanoi Rocks visits London to begin promoting themselves sometime in early 1982 and begin recording their 2nd album “Oriental Beat” stand out tracks for me are; “Visitor” “Oriental Beat” & “Motorvatin” this being their 2nd studio album and final full production with original drummer Gyp Casino as he is fired (rumor mill has it due to excessive drug use) The band will put out their 3rd album “Self Destruction Blues” a collection of singles A & B sides rarities in late 1982, stand out tracks for me; “Taxi Driver” “Self Destruction Blues” & “Dead By X-Mas”. Mean while they break in their new drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley (2 December 1960 Royal Leamington Spa, England- 9 December 1984 Redondo Beach, Ca.) former drummer of ‘The Dark’ & ‘Demon Preacher’ Although Razzle is pictured on the cover he does not actually play on the album.
* Malibu Beach Nightmare…1983
With Razzle on board the band embark on their 4th album (but first with Razzle) which I personally feel their best and strongest effort yet “Back To Mystery City” in early 1983. Stand out tracks; “Mental Beat” “Tooting Bec Wreck” “Until I Get You” Malibu Beach Nightmare” & “Back To Mystery City” they band do record a couple songs that do not make the LP “Malibu Beach” (reggae version) & a really odd song “Do The Duck”. The band take off on a tour of Europe and Japan with live concerts being recorded at the Marquee Club in the UK and released as the album & VHS “All Those Wasted Years” in late 1983 notable tracks “Under My Wheels” & “Train Kept A Rollin” and a TV Broadcast in Japan which came out as an UN-Official double album “Live in Tokyo”
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams….1984
The year of “Big Brother” Hanoi Rocks gets signed to a major US label Epic/ Sony and working with “Mott The Hoople’s” Ian Hunter (3jun1939 UK) & Overend Watts (Peter Watts 13may1947) record their final opus as the original Hanoi Rocks, “Two Steps From The Move” in early 1984 stand outs “I Can’t Get It” “Cutting Corners” “Underwater World” “Million Miles Away” & “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” strangely the title track was left off this release “Two Steps From The Move” however there are 2 different versions on 2 other albums. Being huge ‘Creedence Clearwater Revival’ fans they cut “Up Around The Bend” later McCoy & Suicide in 1986 would record “Travelin Band” as the ‘Cherry Bombz’.
The band embark on the first US tour with Motley Crue. While on some time off for Monroe’s fractured heel Razzle and Vince Neil (Vincent Neal Wharton 8feb1961) decided to make a beer run, Vince was driving drunk and lost control of his vehicle killing Razzle and injuring 2 other people in an oncoming auto. Vince Neil “I bought my way out of jail, like a modern day OJ” (Rumor Mill has it that Razzle was involved in a drunk driving indecent a few years before, in the UK where a passenger died…Karma?) The ‘Clash’s’ Terry Chimes (5jul1956 London) finished out the drum duties on the rest of the 1985 European Tour where a rare ‘live’ album was recorded and released “Rock N Roll Divorce” 1985 Live In Poland (of all places) stand out track “Looking At You” (MC5) and live tracks off ‘Two Steps From The Move’ however the band was just not the same, so in June 1985 Monroe left the band, thus ending the original Hanoi Rocks.
* A Million Miles Away
In the aftermath of Hanoi Rocks, Michael Monroe released 7 solo albums his 2nd 1989 release “Not Fakin It” featured Axel W. Rose in the video “Dead, Jail or Rock N Roll”
His newest 2011 release was produced by Jack Douglas of ‘Aerosmith’ fame Michael Monroe and Sam Yaffa will be “In Concert” Sunday 9 October 2011 at “Station 4” in St. Paul.
Sam Yaffa went on to join the band “Jetboy” for 2 albums in 1988 “Feel The Shake” & 1990 “Damned Nation”. Sometime in 1999 2 compilation albums were released out out-takes and rare material “Day In The Glamorous Life” & “Make Some More Noise”
Andy McCoy & Nasty Suicide formed the “Cherry Bombz” in 1986 and released 2 studio albums “Hot Girls In Love” & “House Of Ecstasy” and a live album “Coming Down Slow” before going their separate ways. After which they became the “Suicide Twins” for 1 album “Silver Missiles & Nightingales”
Hanoi Rocks did have a reunion period from 2003- 2007 Michael Monroe & Andy McCoy reformed Hanoi Rocks, However without Sam Yaffa or Nasty Suicide to release 5 studio records and 1 live album. In 2003 “A Day Late and A Dollar Short” “One Night Stand” & Twelve Shots On The Rocks” then in 2005 “Another Hostile Takeover” followed by 2007’s “Fashion” & “Street Poetry” However even as a hard core fan I feel the magic was gone, I feel perhaps they were trying to make new music for a new audience. The result was just too far from the original sound that made them unique.
* In Conclusion…
I met Sam Yaffa in Nov 2006 here in Minneapolis, when he was the bass player for the ‘New York Dolls’ I had him sign my copy of “Tracks From A Broken Dream” a collection of rare, live & out-takes, stand out tracks to me are “Two Steps From The Move” (live version) “Oil And Gasoline” & “Magic Carpet Ride” I said “Sam I really love your stuff in Hanoi Rocks” he smiled and said “Thanks man, me too” I had a few different conversations with the members of ‘Drain STH’ a Swedish all girl metal band. I found out that the bass player Anna Kjellberg was a huge Hanoi Rocks fan and knew the band from their early days when they made Stockholm their second home. To me an awesome band from an awesome time. So do your self a favor if you can find a “Best Of” Hanoi Rocks CD pick it up and listen to 5 kids from Finland Rock Your Stockings Off……
R.L.Schwinden aka MrZero